Eleventy logo

I’m a bit disappointed to note that I’ve spent far too many hours in the past six months trying to come up with a new way of blogging, to replace my existing GitHub/Jekyll mechanism.

At work, I managed to get a blog running with Eleventy so I assumed it would be simple to just reuse this for my personal blog here.

After spending another 5-10 hours on that exercise this weekend, I rolled back to my old Jekyll based blog with a sense of resignation.


I’ll repeat what I’m trying to do here:

  1. Simplicity: One should not have to know a dozen or more tools and framworks in a “stack” to deploy the blog.

  2. Standalone: The blog should be self-contained and not rely on any third-party (dynamic) services.

  3. Static: The blog content should be completely derived from the contents of its git repo (with the possible exception of comments).

  4. Understandable: It should be clear how the site is finally rendered.

  5. GitHub hosting: Let GitHub handle backup, availability, monitoring, etc.

  6. Markdown formatting: It is hard enough to write in the first place without having to worry about some peculiar markup system.

  7. Simple management of code snippets and graphics: This blog is primarily a place to store my geeky, technology-based ramblings.

  8. Commenting: The ability to allow readers to respond would make the blog more dynamic and indicate whether the contents were proving to be of any value to anyone.

  9. Workflow: Where possible, follow the Jamstack workflow for development and deployment.

  10. Local Implementation: It should be possible to run and view the site locally.


After understanding that the Jamstack approach represents the future, and spending way too many of the aforementioned hours trying to pick a static site generator that follows that approach, I’ve concluded that since Javascript is the language of the web, and node.js is the Javascript interpreter of choice, I’m inclined to make the following observation:

If you are not a web developer, then choose a SSG that does not use node.js, React, next.js or any other popular Javascript development framework. A few alternatives that might fit (along with their implementation language) are:

Everything that I have seen seems to imply that web developers inexorably add more and more bells and whistles until the resulting implementation is no longer simple or understandable, at least not to those who are not also excitable professional web developers. I also suspect that much of present-day web development suffers from “shiny thing” syndrome, where people tend to adopt things primarily because they are new.

While I’m open to learning about web development, I have many other responsibilities and desires, and from what I can see, learning it has slowly become an impractical and unfeasible heavy lift that I can’t afford at the moment.